Fantasy Hockey Mailbag: Should you take a chance on Dylan Holloway?

It’s important to be careful about getting too excited about a player’s performance after only a couple of games, but if you’re rostering Mika Zibanejad right now, it’s hard not to be ecstatic.

Zibanejad scored twice and had a whopping nine shots in his first game, with one of those goals coming on the man advantage. He added two more assists and another power play point on Thursday night.

The New York Rangers centre seemed to unlock something with his shot on the power play in the post-season last year, recording 11 points in 20 games while being a man up.

I’m anxious to see if Zibanejad can hit 35 power-play points for the first time this season and when you factor in his shot volume and faceoff wins, he should have little trouble outperforming his third-round ADP.

There really isn’t anything he doesn’t do well.

Now to your questions:

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I think a big part of it is, as you mentioned, his health. He’s missed significant time in the past couple of seasons with injuries, and he’s now on an expansion team entering its second year of play.

That said, I think there’s still value with Brandon Tanev, as he managed nine goals in 30 games a year ago despite the Seattle Kraken being one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league.

If he can play close to a full season, Tanev should net you around 275 hits and 15 goals. Not bad for a guy you can probably grab off waivers.

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Those leagues are tricky because things change constantly in fantasy hockey, but focusing on the schedule is key.

Seeing which players have more favourable schedules and play more games are the ones that will give you the best chance for success and the ones you’ll probably want to lock in.

More specifically, you should keep a close eye on goalie rotations. For instance, if you are rostering one goalie in a tandem and it’s likely he’ll only play one of the three games his team has that week, you may want to sub him out for someone else.

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Long term I’d rather take my chances with Kirill Marchenko. Gabriel Vilardi may very well end up being a fine NHL player, but in 91 games so far, he’s underwhelmed from a fantasy perspective.

Marchenko is a high-end offensive talent with upside that could start making an impact right when the Columbus Blue Jackets start turning a corner. Having Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine in the top six for support doesn’t hurt either.

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Even though Dylan Holloway started in a really good spot with Draisaitl, I’m not sure how long it’s going to last.

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This doesn’t necessarily mean Holloway won’t find his way back there and be productive, but Andrei Kuzmenko looks like the better option at the moment.

Even with Brock Boeser back from injury, Kuzmenko still got time on the first power play unit in the opening game of the season and scored his first career goal with the man advantage. Stick with him for the time being.

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If his first game of the season was any indication, there’s a good chance you will be very disappointed.

Despite starting out with Chris Kreider and Zibanejad, Kaapo Kakko quickly fell down the lineup and didn’t record a shot. I know Kakko scored a nice goal Thursday, but he shouldn’t be rostered until he really starts showing some consistency.

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If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably heard me singing the praises of Trevor Moore at some point.

Moore had 41 points in his final 49 games last season and he’s already off to a hot start with an assist and five shots this year. He also has the potential for 200 shots and around a hit per game over a full season. Sneaky value.

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John Gibson should get the majority of the starts, but he hasn’t had a save percentage above .904 in three straight seasons. With the Anaheim Ducks in the midst of a rebuild, it’s hard to imagine him having major value in the foreseeable future.

Vitek Vanecek and Mackenzie Blackwood should split the net fairly evenly in New Jersey. It remains to be seen how strong the Devils will be this year, as a big step forward could give Vanecek some real value.

If they continue in mediocrity or even regress, Vanecek won’t bring much to the table. It might be wise to grab another option off the waiver wire for insurance.

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I think I would give Bowen Byram a shot in favour of Erik Karlsson. There’s a chance Byram could work his way onto the second pair in Colorado and maybe squeeze in some time on the second power play unit. Byram had 17 points in 30 games a year ago, so there should be plenty of reward if he plays a full season.

Karlsson is just too much of a gamble at this point. He’s had some tough injuries in recent years and isn’t on a great team. A lot of things would have to go perfectly for Karlsson to make a major fantasy impact in 2022-23.

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I know I mentioned Holloway had a rough debut earlier, but he still probably has a higher ceiling this season than someone like Alex Killorn. The upside to Holloway in the Oilers’ top six is certainly worth it if it doesn’t cost you anything more than a waiver wire add.

Plus, Killorn actually hasn’t scored in 29 games dating back to last season if you include playoffs, as he seems to be settling into more of a checking role with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Holloway is worth the gamble over settling for Killorn.

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Even with Travis Konecny’s two goals Thursday, I think Rielly Smith is still the safer option long term if it’s just points you’re concerned about. Vegas’ roster is much stronger and deeper than Philadelphia’s and Smith started out on the first line in the Golden Knights’ first two games. They aren’t world’s apart but Smith’s upside is much greater.

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It depends on your league categories, but Ryan Hartman will certainly check a lot of boxes for you. Hartman boasts the potential for 60 points, 30 goals, 225 shots, 100 PIM and around a hit per game.

The one downside is he doesn’t get first power play time. That said, he plays with Kirill Kaprizov, so Hartman’s offensive upside is fairly high even without a ton of time on the man advantage.

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You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone more handsome than Roman Josi.

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Defencemen usually give you the best combination of both of these categories. I’m not saying these players should be the first five picks overall, but guys like Mario Ferraro, Darnell Nurse, Alexander Romanov, Radko Gudas, and Rasmus Ristolainen are some names that should cover both categories well.

They’re not always major point producers, so you’ll want to make sure you supplement them with other blueliners that generate offence more consistently.

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Since faceoffs are in play, you should hold on to Bo Horvat and Chandler Stephenson. Tyler Seguin, though, is probably worth swapping out for David Perron, as the new Detroit Red Wing figures to be in a great spot playing with Andrew Copp and Jakub Vrana.

Perron has also had point paces of 70, 84, 70, 66 and 77 in the past five seasons, while Seguin’s offensive output has really diminished in recent years.

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I like Kessel’s outlook on Vegas’ on the top line if he can hold that spot, but not at the expense of Nichushkin.

There’s way too much value with Nichushkin in the Colorado Avalanche top six and he should get time on the first power-play unit while Gabriel Landeskog is sidelined as well.

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Victor Arvidsson is decent for shots on goal, though his ceiling isn’t very high. He hasn’t played 70 games since 2017-18 and he’s just an average fantasy option at this point.

Marco Rossi’s potential, however, is off the charts and he impressed during the pre-season with nine points in five games. The reward for taking a chance on Rossi is high enough to give him a shot.

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Unless your league values hits unusually high for some reason, the answer should be Vincent Trocheck. Tanner Jeannot should easily outhit Trocheck, but Trocheck will likely outperform Jeannot in almost every other category. He’s playing with Artemi Panarin, so his offensive production will be much greater, and it’s not like Trocheck can’t hit. He should have the potential for 175-200 hits along with everything else he brings to the table.

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If history is any guide, it’s probably going to be Linus Ullmark by default. Pavel Francouz has struggled to stay healthy in his brief career, frustrating fantasy GMs that see his potential on a strong Avalanche team.

This year the net seems more wide open in Colorado, so if Francouz can avoid injuries, he’ll have significant value. But that’s a big if.

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It sounds like Ty Smith is starting in the AHL more for salary cap reasons than his play on the ice, so he could find his way back to the Pittsburgh Penguins at some point.

That said, when it comes to long-term keepers, I would try to focus on players that have the potential to have major fantasy impact down the line. Smith might end up being a solid NHL defenceman, but does he project to be someone that’s going to produce huge numbers? I’m not so sure.

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Schultz has only eclipsed the 50-point mark once in his career, so I’m hesitant to get too excited about him, even though the Seattle Kraken power play has looked good so far.

Still, if he can fend off Vince Dunn for the quarterback spot on the top unit full-time, 35 points or so should be a realistic possibility. That would be the second-highest total of his career and make Schultz worth rostering when you consider he’ll also provide a decent amount of blocked shots, too.

Power-play splits are usually tough to divvy up evenly, because so much depends on when that first unit leaves the ice. You’re not always going to get a whistle halfway through a power play. If a player is on the second unit you should assume that they’ll get significantly less time on the man advantage.

In this case, I’d only roster one of Schultz or Dunn, whoever is quarterbacking that first group.

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